Merry Christmas again! Thanks for playing my cryptic puzzle!
The answers to Version 1 are as follows:
- The common grain is WHEAT. If you subtract the E, you get WHAT
- The first letters of ‘She owns new gloves’ gives the word SONG
- The 3-letter word in the middle of EMPHASIZE is HAS
- The even letters of CLAY ART IS COSY gives LYRICS
- The words Oscar Uniform Romeo are from the NATO alphabet and their abbreviations are their first letters, which give the word OUR
- A canine is a DOG, so the reversed form is GOD
- Inside BATHE A VENDOR you find the word HEAVEN
- You can find 2 words from anagramming ANT CON, the uncommon CANTON and CANNOT
- The 4-letter word that means both GRASP and POWER is HOLD
- A church song is a HYMN, whose homophone is HIM
The final phrase says “What song has lyrics ‘Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him’?”
Perhaps you recognize this lyric, but if not, a simple Google search should pull up the song:
IN THE BLEAK MIDWINTER << Highlight to reveal the answer!
Scroll on for the explanation of Version 2: The cryptic crossword clue!
I’ve found that highlighting the wordplay sections of cryptic clues helps with understanding how to solve them. These are the colors I typically use to notate types of wordplay:
The sections of the clue are highlighted for you. The straight part is in blue, hidden word indicators are in green, reversal indicators are in dark green, anagram indicators are in orange, homophone word indicators are in purple, additions are light yellow, deletions are dark yellow, abbreviations are pink, bits and pieces indicators are red, and letter sequence indicators are in teal. Indirect clues are in italics.
So the cryptic clue will now look like this:
During the gloomy hibernal, I then changed. Born, bleed, fall back dim. But finally, after victory, crown of eternity and ultimate Savior (2,3,5,9)
In layman’s terms, the first four words are essentially the definition of the answer. ‘I then’ will be anagrammed into the words ‘IN THE‘. Born is abbreviated to the letter B. Bleed is a synonym for the word LEAK. Fall back means to reverse the word dim to get MID. The last letter (finally) of ‘but’ is T. This goes after the word WIN (synonym of victory). Then you get the first letter (crown) of eternity which is E, and the last letter (ultimate) of Savior, which is R.
Highlight the next section to reveal the answer!
INTHE+B+LEAK+MID+WIN+T+E+R, or simply, IN THE BLEAK MIDWINTER.
Most cryptic crossword clues are not this complicated. They will typically only use one or two types of wordplay per clue. But I couldn’t pass up a fun surface-read that tells the story of Jesus!
If you enjoy wordplay and want to learn more about cryptic crosswords, you can find my new Cryptic Crosswords for Beginners book on Amazon!
Thanks again for playing and I hope you have a wonderful Christmas season!